Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Argentinosaurus was a herbivorous sauropod dinosaur that is quite possibly the largest, heaviest land animal that ever lived. It developed on the island continent of South America during the Cretaceous period, after all of its more familiar Gondwanan Jurassic kin — like Apatosaurus — had long disappeared.
Not much of Argentinosaurus has been recovered, just some back vertebrae, tibia, fragmentary ribs, and sacrum. However, the spectacular proportions of these bones and the familiarity of the species' Sauropod relatives allows paleontologists to estimate that full-grown specimens reached some 35 to 45 metres (115 to 150 feet). Weight was perhaps 80 to 100 tonnes (90 to 110 tons). Vast wings on the vertebrae suited the attachment of massive muscles.
Classification and history
Argentinosaurus ("Argentina lizard") is a recent discovery. The type species, A. huinculensis, was only described and published (by the Argentinian palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria) in 1993. Its more specific time-frame within the Cretaceous is the Albian to Cenomanian epochs, 112.2 to 93.5 mya.
The fossil discovery site is in the Río Limay Formation in Neuquén Province, Argentina. Due to the enormous size of each bone, Rodolfo Coria apparently stated "God forbid we ever find a complete one" to National Geographic Magazine, who were covering the event.
- Brief introduction and an idea of the scale of a vertebra
- Another brief introduction, with the restoration at Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
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